22 June 2011

Breast Cancer Resource Center

Mamma Jamma Ride Beneficiary #1 - This is Why I Ride...

The first support I received for my breast cancer -- outside of family & friends was from a wonderful organization -- The Breast Cancer Resource Center

I met Ray Anne on September 22, 2009, while I was waiting for my biopsy to begin. She was with me in the operating room for the procedure - rubbed my back and chatted with me the entire time. It was so calming that I don't remember the biopsy, but I do remember how kind and sweet she was. 

I later found out that she was my Patient Navigator AND a breast cancer survivor (she had been diagnosed in 1997). For me, our conversations meant more because of that. Through the next year, Ray Anne was there to answer my questions, and would call to see how I was doing. She was my advocate, and she is still my friend. Words cannot begin to describe what this meant to me, or how this set the tone for my treatment that would follow.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then THIS video is ten times that:

The BCRC is an amazing gift to breast cancer patients, both female AND male. Their roots began in 1993 when several women recognized the importance for patients to actively participate in their own care.  Their 6 patient navigators are breast cancer survivors. Many women will find a safe place when they are helped by this non-profit, and beneficiary of the Mamma Jamma Ride. 

They currently have 11 specialized support groups in Austin and surrounding counties including:
  • Area groups for the newly diagnosed
  • Pink Ribbon Cowgirls - a group for women of child-bearing age
  • A group for Spanish speakers
  • The IV League for long term survivors of metastatic breast cancer
I was amazed at their lending library. I was able to borrow books that were up-to-date instead of spending a fortune at the bookstore. The more information I gathered about what was to come, the calmer I became. Armed with this information I was able to become a part of my medical team, not just a bystander. The words at the end of the video really say it all:

10 Counties Served
12 Staff Members
3500 Clients Served
9000 Hours of Patient Navigation
$0.00 Charge to Clients

This non-profit organization does so much for so many, I count it as one of the blessings that has come my way. The BCRC is there to ensure no one goes through breast cancer alone.

They are also a proud supporter of our ride, I especially loved the cheerleaders at the Inaugural Ride in 2009!

The BCRC is one of the 10 Beneficiaries
THIS is why I ride

You can support my fundraising efforts here

RAIN and a Cool Bike Ride!!!

The latest drought map from the USDA is not a pretty picture:

Yesterday was the first official day of summer and here in Austin,TX we have already surpassed our average number of "days above 100 degrees" per year. That is why I didn't mind being awoken at 1:00 a.m. with the sound of thunder and pouring rain. According to my rain gauge, we got 0.9 inches - WOOHOOO!!!

The rain also cooled the low temperature this morning by 10 degrees to 70!! Mark & I had a very enjoyable 15 mile bike ride before he headed off to work. I swear I could hear the blades of grass rejoicing as we rode our normal route. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. Is it okay to pray for a level 1 Hurricane that comes ashore on the Gulf Coast where it won't do any damage??

20 June 2011

Definitions & A Purpose

The summer that I turned ten I remember my Aunt Inez telling me that I was my Daddy's girl because I loved everything about baseball yet I was also my Mom's girl because I loved to bake. Forty five years later my parents are no longer here with me on earth, but I still LOVE baking & baseball. As I tried to think of a name for my very first blog, my husband Mark came up with "Home Plate" -- I immediately knew he had a winner.

According to the Collins English Dictionary, the obvious definition:

Home Plate - (noun) In Baseball a flat, often five-sided piece of hard rubber or other material that serves to define the area over which the pitcher must throw the ball for a strike and that a base runner must safely reach on his way from third base to score a run.
I love the connection between home plate and being safe.

Home Plate - can also be thought of in terms of food. It is a title used by many restaurants & cookbooks as well as personal chef services. When I think of Home Plate in these terms, I remember family gatherings where I am surrounded by loved ones AND plates of wonderful home cooking (especially the desserts!!).

Home Plate - there is a third definition that is a personal one. Running through my mind is the picture from "The Sound of Music" of Julie Andrews singing "when you read you begin with A-B-C".

I want to tell you about my A-B-C: Alice's Breast Cancer. In September 2008, I had an awakening of sorts with the breast cancer diagnosis that changed my life. I am currently cancer free, and life is even better now. The love and support I received during my journey through various surgeries and chemotherapy was instrumental in my recovery. When I reached the end of all my treatments, I felt like I had hit a home run and was finally able to cross My Home Plate!! I don't know how my Game of Life will end, whether the cancer will ever return or not, but for now I will just enjoy this feeling of safety.

Because of my good fortune, I am filled with a strong need to Pay it Forward. Five months after my last chemotherapy I rode in the 2009 Inaugural Texas Mamma Jamma Bike Ride - an amazing charity ride that has raised $1,000,000 in 2 years. The money raised goes to the non-profit organizations that provided services to me & continue to assist thousands of other breast cancer patients and their families. Did I mention that I also love BIKING??

Mark & I after we rode our first century ride - yes, a 100 mile bike ride
 in the 2009 Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, just 5 months after completing my chemotherapy.

Now for the purpose of my blog -

My goal is to:
  • Share not only my cancer story - but also those of friends that I have met
  • Post information about new breast cancer advancements
  • Spread the word about the amazing Texas Mamma Jamma Ride
  • Share my love for Biking, Baking & Baseball along with posts sprinkled in about my other interests such as painting, crafting, photography & gardening
  • Finally, I will be introducing you to some wonderful non-profit organizations that hit a home run everyday by the services that they provide to cancer patients and their families here in Central Texas. I hope that you will in turn share with me some of the support organizations that are in your area.

One last definition:

Home Plate is also the name for a rocky outcrop on Mars that measures about 90 meters across. Interesting!!

I want to reach for the stars when it comes to sharing information with you in future posts. I invite you to come along for the ride at This Home Plate.